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Prominent Aussies, Including Actress Rose Byrne Attend Marriage Equality Rally in New York

Flickr - The People Speak!

Earlier this week New York based-Australians and their friends showed their support for marriage equality in Australia at a rally. The event took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York, what is said to be the birthplace of gay rights in America.

According to among the crowd of proud Aussies were actress Rose Byrne, who was reportedly “about to give birth any minute,” as well as Grand Slam doubles tennis champion Rennae Stubs and Queensland Liberal MP Warren Entsch.

Despite being eight months pregnant, Byrne attended the event and spoke about why it was such an important issue for her.

“I’m just so proud to be an Australian and I’m so ashamed of the fact that we still have this incredibly old-fashioned outlook on this issue,” Byrne told News Corp Australia.

“It doesn’t make sense; we have great health care and we have great education, so I don’t understand why we don’t have equal rights — it’s human rights. I have many gay friends in Australia and abroad and the fact that we don’t have equality in our country is baffling to me.”

One of the event organisers, Queenslander Tim O’Brien, said, “Being abroad, I think we passionately identify as being Australian, but it’s quite shameful to have to explain to people that a country as liberal as Australia still doesn’t have marriage equality.”

Read more: Mental Health Concerns Spike Among Young LGBT Australians as the Nation Votes on Same-Sex Marriage

Stubbs, a six-time Grand Slam doubles champ, gave an emotional speech about her own coming out story at age 25. She also referenced other Australian Olympians including Daniel Kowalski, Ian Thorpe, Casey Dellacqua, Lauren Jackson, and Natalie Cook, as proud Australians who “are being treated like second-class citizens.”

“We’ve represented our country with pride and our country does not represent us and that’s not fair. It’s equality; that’s all we ask for,” Stubbs told News Corp Australia.

Entsch has been a long time marriage equality supporter and told News Corp Australia that legalising same sex marriage in Australia, “could only strengthen the institute of marriage.”

“At the end of the day, it beggars belief that two people who have been in a committed, monogamous relationship over an extended period of time can’t express their commitment and love for each other in the way they deem appropriate,” he said. “I can’t understand it.”

If you’re an Australian living overseas you can still participate in the same sex marriage survey. Simply visit the Australian Bureau of Statistics for details on how to make your vote count.

According to Byrne, voting yes will put the country on the right side of history.

“Really, it’s just embarrassing,” she said. “It’s an emotional issue, and I’m positive that it’s going to be a yes and the start of getting it legislated. It’s the beginning of being on the right side of history.”